Ryan LaFlare vs Tony Martin
The Good Doctor: There is no scenario in which I see Tony Martin winning this fight. Prediction: LaFlare by submission
Sweet MBA: Both of these fighters like letting it go to the judges. If LaFlare pressures Martin, he will be knocked silly. If Martin cruises, he will lose the decision. My guess is LaFlare is still gun shy and will win by decision.
TheBrane: LaFlare only has 2 losses in 16 fights but those 2 were in his last 5 outings and at 34 years old the door may be shutting soon for Ryan. Martin entered the UFC in 2014 with an 8-0 record, he has gone 5-4 in his time in the Octagon and has shown some struggle with good wrestlers. He needs to keep this fight standing or use his submission skills to get the job done. Tony Martin by Decision.
MikeyMoTheMC: Martin by decision
Fred Yu: No comment
Gray Maynard vs Nik Lentz
The Good Doctor: I will continue to have an issue with fighters who cannot finish fights. Gray Maynard fits that bill. Prediction: Lentz by decision
Sweet MBA: Maynard has not fought in over a year and he is not getting any younger. Lentz on the other hand has a string of knockouts, decisions and submission. I am going for Lentz by knock out.
TheBrane: I do not like Nik Lentz one bit, out of nowhere and without a resume that gets him anywhere near one of the Greatest of his time, Lentz has an obsession with talking major trash to BJ Penn. Of course Lentz only started to do that after he has seen what BJ has become as a fighter in his last years which is a shell of his former self. Lentz was disrespectful to the Legend and then said he would fight anywhere, anytime. Yet when BJ answered the call for a potential March 5 2016 fight Lentz suddenly refused the fight on that date, refused to fight at 145lbs and made other demands such as Penn must donate $22,000 to the Hawaii Dog Foundation in Mike Dolce’s name. Then literally had the balls to say he will call the shots on when he would be ready to fight. No disrespect to Gray because I have enjoyed his fights for many of years but I am picking him more on the note that I will never pick Lentz no matter who he is fighting. Gray Maynard by Submission
MikeyMoTheMC: Lentz 2nd rd TKO
Fred Yu: Nik Lentz by TKO
Scott Holtzman vs Alan Patrick
The Good Doctor: My issue with Patrick is that he can be goaded into slobber knockers. He has a tendency to be undisciplined during key points in a fight. Holtzman however, is the polar opposite. He does not take chances when the moment strikes. It will be interesting to see how this fight turns out. Prediction: Holtzman by decision
Sweet MBA: Hot Sauce Holtzman has a questionable nickname and even more questionable is his record; its a decision tree. Patrick looks like his name should be Scott Holtzman. Patrick will most likely KO Holtzman.
TheBrane: Patrick came into the UFC with a bang 1st round KO win but nothing but decision wins since. Holtzman also had a finish in his first UFC bout but all decisions since. These guys both have a lot of heart and I expect they will show that again on fight night. Alan Patrick by Decision.
MikeyMoTheMC: Lansberg TKO
Fred Yu: No comment
The Good Doctor: How is Lansberg ranked? Kunitskaya isn’t. Prediction: Kunitskaya by KO
Sweet MBA: Lansberg and Kunitskaya have both been baptized at the church of a Cyborg Knockouts. I am pretty impressed with the development of talent coming out of Malmo. I am questioning there take down defense though. Kunitskaya may be one of the only women to get Cyborg’s back. I suspect Kunitskaya chokes out Lansberg in first round.
TheBrane: I honestly do not know much about these two ladies other than that they both suffered TKO losses to Cyborg in their first UFC outings. That said it is not an embarrassment to either as it takes a very tough woman to enter the cage with a savage like Cyborg to begin with. I expect they will both want to show they belong in the UFC and I look for fireworks. Lina Lansberg by Decision.
MikeyMoTheMC: Martin by decision
Fred Yu: Yana Kunitskaya by split decision
Aspen Ladd vs Tonya Evinger *
The Good Doctor: Father Time is undefeated. Prediction: Ladd by KO
Sweet MBA: Tonya was sent here to feed Aspen. Evinger’s record is a who’s who of losses: Carano, McMann and Cyborg. She is only missing an ass whooping to Ronda and Holly. Aspen by first round KO.
TheBrane: Evinger is a Pioneer in Women’s MMA who has been fighting since 2006. Yet after 25 professional fights and holding the Invicta Bantamweight Championship since 2015, Tonya only got her first shot in the UFC last year when she stepped in to face Cyborg on short notice. Tonya lasted much longer than anyone expected her to with the vicious Cyborg. Ladd is still a puppy when it comes to MMA as she has only been fighting since 2015, but she is definitely a dangerous puppy indeed. Evinger has the clear experience factor here while Ladd is young hungry and has the killer instinct it takes to become very successful in the sport. Plus Aspen is from Northern Cali representative so you know i’m always down with that. Aspen Ladd by Decision
MikeyMoTheMC: Ladd 2nd TKO
Fred Yu: Tonya Evinger by majority decision
Sergio Pettis vs Jussier Forrmiga *
The Good Doctor: This is an extremely interesting fight and an important one. The winner of this fight probably gets the winner of Cejudo and Johnson for the Flyweight championship. The formula for this fight is simple, Formiga is a submission specialist with a limited striking skill. Pettis is a good striker with good submission skills. But both fighters lack the ability to finish a fight. With that being said, I cannot see Formiga winning this fight on a decision. Prediction: Pettis by decision
Sweet MBA: Despite Dr. Akins protest, I have lost any faith in the Pettis brothers. In fact, if the past is an indicator of the future, when they fight on the same card, they both lose badly. I still blame Sergio for handing Cejudo a run way. Formiga by decision.
TheBrane: Pettis won his last fight but lost to Henry Cejudo the outing before that, without that loss he would be in the mix for a title shot with the run he was on. Safe to say with another win or two he could be right there for a rematch with now Flyweight Champion Cejudo. Formiga would also like to get a streak going to claim his own title shot and he is coming off two straight Rear Naked Choke finishes. Both these men are pretty well rounded but i’d give a slight striking advantage to Pettis with the Submission skills advantage to Formiga. Should be a fun exchange. Jussier Formiga by Decision.
MikeyMoTheMC: Pettis by decision
Fred Yu: Jussier Forrmiga by submission
Sean O’Malley vs Jose Quinonez *
The Good Doctor: Quinonez can be summed up very simply. A phenomenal boxer with some ground and pound skill. O’Malley doesn’t really seem to have a particular style. I would just simply call him a fighter who has the ability to see daylight to finish a fight. The sloppier this fight gets, the better it is for O’Malley. If this fight stays standing with technical qualities, the advantage goes to Quinonez. Prediction: Quinonez by decision
Sweet MBA: O’Malley is an exciting prospect. A hybrid of a Diaz and a McGregor. However his spinning techniques come at a cost and we will see if his tendons are about that life. I am also curious to see his ground game against a high level grappler like Teco. I suspect this fight stays on the ground with O’Malley frustrated. Quinonez by decision.
TheBrane: O’Malley is one of the young prospects with a lot of hype behind him coming off the DWTNCS that has been a breeding ground for flashy talent. Quinonez is not here to be a stepping stone on Sugar Sean’s rise to the top. Jose lost his first UFC encounter but has put together four straight victories since then. I just feel like the hype train is real for O’Malley and that is no knock on Quinonez at all who also looks to have a bright future. Sean O’Malley by TKO
MikeyMoTheMC: Quinonez by decision
Fred Yu: Sean O’Malley by TKO
The Good Doctor: Herrig has shown steady improvement in her time in the UFC. One thing is for sure, she sure does look like money. She comes into every fight in phenomenal condition. Not to say that she hasn’t had her share of nagging injuries. But she definitely comes into every fight looking well-trained and fit as a fiddle. In most cases, her advantage is her stamina. Despite Herrig’s obvious improvement, she has not finished a fight since July 2016. But she has won five of her last seven fights. What can I say about Waterson? She has also won five of her last seven fights. Waterson who is an elite grappler, also has top-flight karate skills. Because of those karate skills, she often finds herself in situations in which her opponents would rather take the fight to the ground. Only to find out that her submission skills match her striking skills. So why hasn’t Waterson found herself in a title fight as of yet? Because in most fights, Waterson has found herself in fights in which she get overpowered or caught slipping. This fight with Herrig, yet another situation in which she is not as strong as her opponent. Waterson has to be careful. Prediction: Waterson by submission
Sweet MBA: Whoever wins should keep the other from making twerk videos. This is a public safety matter. Herrig’s range and boxing is going to frustrate Waterson early. This fight is not going to be pretty – just like that damn twerk video. Herrig by KO.
TheBrane: I can not stand Felice Herrig because she is such an attention seeker that she once threatened to sue the makers of Mortal Kombat X for using her image to create the character Cassie Cage. She said it was clearly her because the character takes selfies & blows bubbles with her gum after she wins. Right because she is the ONLY white girl on the planet who does those things. Plus let’s be clear about Cassie’s attire which is a full body long sleeve military style suit covered from neck to toe. Felice’s selfies are probably 90% in her underwear & sometimes not even all of it for that matter. I won’t even go into her bullying on the TUF season she was on. That said she is a solid fighter but I think The Karate Hottie is pretty damn skilled in that aspect herself. Waterson is well rounded in all aspects of the game but her humbleness sets her apart from the conceited Herrig. Michelle Waterson by Decision.
MikeyMoTheMC: Herrig by decision
Fred Yu: Felice Herrig by decision. Felice Herrig has been training smarter as part of her comeback. She will come out on top with the decision.
The Good Doctor: Ladies and gentlemen, here is the hard truth. Volkov is the better fighter! Volkov has KO’d the PED user (Werdum), KO’d Struve, and sent Roy Nelson to Bellator. If we’re being completely honest, you probably find Lewis funny, you probably think Lewis has extreme KO power. And those are facts. But here’s another fact. Lewis IS NOT skilled. If he doesn’t KO Volkov, he WILL NOT win this fight. Prediction: Volkov by KO
Sweet MBA: Saw the trailer to Creed 2. I am sure its just a coincidence that Volkov is named Drago and booked for this fight during the press run. I have many questions. Did Lewis spend any time healing his back? Is his power based on his back and not using his legs? Does Volkov have the same explosion against fighters with chins as he does against those who do not? This a clear a striking match. As much as it pains me to say, I believe Volkov wins by decision.
TheBrane: Even though it was technically a win, Lewis really needs to redeem himself after that complete snoozefest that he had with N’Gannou in his last fight. With a win here The Black Beast could really cement his claim as the number 2 HW Contender after Stipe, since Dana is obviously not interested in rankings or loyalty and will give Brock Lesner the next title shot at Daniel Cormier’s crown. Maybe Lewis vs Miocic could be for a vacant title since DC will retire after beating Lesner. Volkov is not interested in any of that, he is on a mission to send Derrick back down the rankings and slingshot himself up that ladder. Volkov is dangerous everywhere the fight can go and I believe his gas tank is what gives him that biggest advantage against The Black Beast. If Volkov can weather that first storm his chances increase greatly, but Derrick’s with raw power he is never out of a fight no matter how gassed he is late in the fight and he has proven this on a few occasions. And yes I know that Lewis is already ranked 2 but we need to be convinced after he threw 3 punches in a 25 min fight against a guy he has been talking trash to for a couple of years. Derrick Lewis by TKO
MikeyMoTheMC: Volkov 1st rd KO
Fred Yu: Derrick Lewis by beastly TKO. Alexander Volkov will try to box and dance his way through this fight, but eventually be overpowered by the beast!
Ovince Saint Preaux vs Dominick Reyes
The Good Doctor: Here’s another moment of hard truth. Saint Preaux has been completely up and down in his time in the UFC. In fairness to him, he has fought nothing but the best light heavyweights in the world. But just when you think that he is ready turn the corner, Saint Preaux then loses a fight so send him to bottom. Reyes although undefeated thus far in the UFC, has never faced competition to the level of Saint Preaux. I am not sure how he is going to handle competition of this level. Prediction: Saint Preaux by decision
Sweet MBA: Reyes just climbs ranks. He has put on a knock out tour his last four fights and is constantly head hunting that round house kick. OSP has a talent for destroying predictions. His record is decorated with performance bonuses that he is either peformer or victim of. The only pattern I can find in his losses is they are either against Europeans like Manuwa or Oezdemir or they are against people who think they are European like Jon Jones. This has the potential to steal the show and be the fight of the night. Everytime I want to throw out OSP he wins. Therefore OSP by submission.
TheBrane: Reyes is still pretty new to the sport only fighting since 2014 but he brings an undefeated record with 8 finishes in his 9 fights. He has that killer instinct that you just can not teach and he goes for the finish the moment he smells blood in the water, but he has not faced the caliber of opponent as OSP yet. St. Preux is a vet that is very well rounded, he could pick you apart with his technicality, he could grind you out with his wrestling, he has knockout power in his hands and feet, & he has the submission skill that has had him pull off not one, not two, but three Von Flue chokes in his UFC career. He knows this young stud is coming for blood and im sure he is ready. Will Reyes be able to step up to the biggest test of his career so far is the question to be answered here. Ovince St. Preux by Decision.
MikeyMoTheMC: OSP 2nd rd TKO
Fred Yu: Dominick Reyes by TKO. The Dominick Reyes train will not stop here with OSP. Dominick will pick OSP off till a TKO with relentless pressure through his stand up.
The Good Doctor: I have watched every Tony Ferguson fight since May 2012 and I feel like I’ve learned absolutely nothing. Let’s face it, with Ferguson coming off that catastrophic knee injury, we have no idea what he will look like. Although I’m not by ANY stretch of the imagination a physician, I have had my share of knee reconstruction surgeries. I am concerned about Ferguson coming back this soon. You can be in the best shape of your life and your knee may not follow suit. With that being said, I would not be surprised if Pettis came out in southpaw stance and tested Ferguson with leg kicks. Duke Rufus is one of the best coaches in the business and I have NO DOUBT that he’s thinking the same thing that I am. Pettis is too explosive of a fighter to test your knee against. The one thing that I salute Pettis for is ALWAYS being willing to take the tough fight. Prediction: Pettis by decision
Sweet MBA: El Cucuy vs El Showtime. Little known fact. Pettis is an angelicized version of the name Perez. I want to thank Dana White, Ari Emmanuel, Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard for promoting Mexican on Mexican violence because that is clearly working well for us all. The flip side of this story is the parallels. They both were born in the Midwest. Both of these fighters have come back from tremendous leg injuries. They both train with some of the innovators when it comes to grappling in MMA. They both have added a new dimension to the sport in terms of a high light reel. The fan in me wonders: what took so long to get here? This is an exceptionally hard match to call. Any other night it might be Pettis but he made the mistake of being on same card as his brother. Ferguson by submission.
TheBrane: Let’s be real, Interim Titles are glorified Number One Contenderships. That said, once you crown someone Interim Champion, you can’t just take it back when that person suffers a freak accident like Ferguson did. The way WME has treated their non Irish Champions has been sketchy at best. Tony Ferguson should still be the Interim Champion but honestly that does not matter here, if he handles his business against Showtime it should be clear that he will face the winner of the main event. El Cucuy has a 10 fight winning streak going and he is a very unorthodox fighter in his striking and Jiu-Jitsu approach. Pettis is no slouch in either aspect of the game himself and he is ready to play spoiler to Tony’s title shot aspects. Anthony has not exactly had a great run as of late flip flopping wins and losses in his last six fights. However in his last bout, Showtime really looked like his old self for the first time since he lost his title in 2015. This should really be some fireworks as both of these guys are never in a dull fight and I applaud the UFC for putting this Co Main Event on a card that is not only a great match up, but covers any possible unfortunate disasters to our Championship Main Event. Tony Ferguson by Decision.
MikeyMoTheMC: Ferguson 4th rd KO FOTN
Fred Yu: Anthony Pettis by submission. Yes, this is an outlandish prediction but El Cucuy may have lost some mojo after his freak injuries. Anthony Pettis has been on a comeback train. The fight will be stalemate standing with a great back and forth. El Cucuy will engage into a clinch fight and try to wrestle Showtime. Showtime will capitalize and finish with a RNC or Guillotine.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor *
The Good Doctor: With everything that has gone on in the saga that is “The Irish Voldemort”, here’s yet another hard truth. He has not fought in two years. And coming in fighting the best lightweight in the world, may be detrimental to his health. I understand the train of hyperbole. I get that the common man loves to hear him talk in a press conference. But for us fighters and MMA experts, “The Irish Voldemort” fighting this guy is a tall order. Trying to get Nurmagomedov off his game in a press conference seems a tad bit juvenile. To us fighters and MMA experts, it comes across as a man who lacks confidence in himself and his abilities. With all of that being said, the strategy here is obvious. Keep your distance, use the jab, and try to counterstrike. Hope that you can catch Nurmagomedov enough to make him desperate and undisciplined. That’s easier said than done. The strategy for Nurmagomedov is also simple, get the fight to the ground and rain down elbows. As we’ve seen in the past, no one gets up when Nurmagomedov puts you down. Each fighter has fought someone similar in the past. “The Irish Voldemort” has fought Chad Mendes. Nurmagomedov has fought Edson Barboza. There are some differences. Edson Barboza is a Muay Thai Striker, “The Irish Voldemort” is more of a a boxer and doesn’t possess the same ability to get back to his feet as Barboza. Mendes is more of a wrestler and doesn’t possess the same ability to hold people down. So, how will this fight go. We will soon see. Prediction: Nurmagomedov by KO
Sweet MBA: There are things I want and things that are. What I want is for Nurmagomedov to enter cautious, pretend to strike, cinch the clinch around the waist, take the back and suplex McGregor on his neck like the Khabib I fell in love with at his UFC debut. I don’t need multiple suplexes. Just one will give a submission that ends this issue in the first round. What is going to happen is McGregor is going to toy with Nurmagomedov for as long as it takes for him to go for single legs. Every time he shoots, he gets caught. This will wear down over three rounds. Beginning of the fourth, Nurmagomedov will be told its now or never. He will dive for the left and get hit with a flurry from the side step left. Its going to sleep him standing. McGregor fourth round KO. That being said, the inter European tribalism promoting this fight was quite intriguing.
TheBrane: The fight that we have all been waiting for is finally here (knock on wood), Khabib vs Conor, The Eagle vs Notorious, Nurmagomedov vs McGregor is the fight that we have wanted to see since the day that Conor reused to defend his Featherweight Title and was granted an automatic Title shot at Lightweight. It’s the Unstoppable Force vs the Immovable Object, oh wait that was Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan and both those guys were the Baby Face. But if you think about it this is also not exactly a Face vs Heel set up as McGregor fan boys think he is the Face and Nurmagomedov is the Heel. The rest of us know that Khabib is the Face and Conor is the Heel here. I mean come on, Dolly Gate Much? When does the Face throw objects at bus windows sending glass into other fighters eyes and get away with it? That is a clear Heel move, we have all seen the cartoons growing up. And don’t get me wrong I enjoy the Heel too, Conor is a funny guy that no doubt can fight with the best in the world, but he seriously needs a whole case of Humble Pie. Khabib is the guy that could definitely bake him those pies. The Eagle’s Ground and Pound is relentless and brutal, dare I say it is the Lightweight version of a Mark Kerr? Yes a 265lbs G&P is going to be a lot more vicious than any 155ers, but this guy grew up wrestling bear cubs at 12 years old. I was still playing with GI Joe’s & Transformer action figures at 12 but Khabib was sparring with a friggin BEAR for crying out loud! Of course none of that matters if he gets caught with that Left Hook and cant weather the storm. McGregor is not only a heavy handed skilled striker, but he is a master of the mind game as well. He loves to get into his opponents head and cause their emotions to seep into their conscience when they need to be 100% focused. So far Khabib seems composed enough to not fall for the okie doke but you never know who has the best poker face and who really just has that ability to let it fall right off their shoulders. I would not be surprised by either guy dominating this fight, not that one is completely better than the other. It is just that they are both extremely better at what they are good at than the other. So if it is a complete stand up fight, And New. If its a grappling match, And Still. I highly doubt we will get a back and forth war though but I think this fight will deliver the goods no matter what. Khabib Nurmagomedov by TKO.
MikeyMoTheMC: McNuggets 1st rd KO KO of the night
Fred Yu: Conor McGregor by 1st round TKO. If mystic mac predicts it, there is a high chance of it happening. We have yet to see anybody keep opponents at the end of their punches better than Conor. Even taller opponents like Nate Diaz with 3 inches of longer reach have a hard time matching his boxing. The eagle will not have an answer Conor’s boxing. If Khabib engages, 1st round TKO, if the eagle decides to evade and Conor is hunting, it may go to the 2nd.
Sweet MBA (@SweetMBA)
Dr. JK Akins (@JKAkinaMMA)
Brane Ramos (@Brane_Damage)
Fred Yu (@derf_yu)
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